SCHOOLCHILDREN who are taught in “ramshackle” conditions pleaded with politicians last night to rezone land that will give them a new school next week.
A crucial vote to rezone a portion of Cork’s 10-acre Tank Field will come before the city’s councillors next Monday night. A two thirds majority will be required to secure the rezoning of a 2.3-acre section of the site to allow the Department of Education build a new school for Gaelscoil an Ghoirt Álainn, which is located next door.
City bosses, school management and the department have spent the past five years working to secure the site.
The council agreed last year to sell the site to the department for €875,000.
The department then lodged a planning application for an ultra-modern two-storey 16-classroom school on the site. Everything is in place to proceed with building, but councillors must first vote to rezone.
However, an alternative site at Banduff was put forward in recent weeks after local objections to the Tank Field site intensified.
The department confirmed last night that following an examination of that site, it has been deemed unsuitable. The department has invested considerable public money getting the building project on the Tank Field site to this advanced stage.
“There is now no alternative site,” school principal Reamonn Ó Rian said last night.
“If we lose this vote on Monday, our children will be condemned to stay in prefabs for the foreseeable future.”
He said the school has been looking for a suitable permanent site for almost 14 years.
Its existing classrooms are leaking, freezing in winter and too hot in summer.
Plans to revamp the remainder of the Tank Field and realign sports pitches have also been agreed with Brian Dillons GAA club.
The gaelscoil was founded in 1998. Its 300 pupils — three quarters of whom live within one mile of the school — have since been taught in cabins.
Up to 30 children are taught in rooms measuring 50 square metres. Modern guidelines state the minimum classroom size should be 80 square metres.